QB Jake Haener leads Fresno State to win over UTEP in the New Mexico Bowl

Bulldog Sports

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KSEE) – The question was answered pretty quickly. Yes, Jake Haener would play in Saturday’s New Mexico Bowl and yes, he would be the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback.

He was their only quarterback in the game.

And Haener passed for 286 yards in leading Fresno State to a 31-24 win over UTEP in the PUBG MOBILE New Mexico Bowl. Fresno State (10-3) reaches double digit wins for the third time in the last five seasons.

In the two weeks leading up to kickoff, Fresno State interim head coach Lee Marks was asked repeatedly about the status of Jake Haener, who entered his name into the transfer portal on the day that Kalen DeBoer was introduced at the University of Washington. Haener then withdrew his name from the portal after Jeff Tedford was named the head coach at Fresno State, and he returned to the team.

Haener practiced with the Bulldogs in preparation for the trip to Albuquerque, but his role in the bowl game was not made clear ahead of time.

Ronnie Rivers did not play in Saturday’s game, a fact which was also not known publicly before kickoff. The Fresno State senior running back, who will finish his career as the third-leading rusher in Bulldog history, was reportedly dealing with a “tender ankle,” according to the ESPN telecast.

In Rivers’ absence, Jordan Mims carried the ball 29 times for 165 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught five passes for 71 yards and a touchdown.

For UTEP, the Miners finish the season with a record of 7-6. They are still in search of their first bowl win since 1967.

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